Hamas spewed some predictable ugliness about a Palestinian official's visit to the site of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland—and the mainstream and Zionist press predictably plays it for all it is worth. Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas, made the visit this week, prompting Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum to say: "It was an unjustified and unhelpful visit that served only the Zionist occupation." He called the visit "a marketing of a false Zionist alleged tragedy....at the expense of a real Palestinian tragedy." The comments were picked up by Reuters and flaunted with open glee by the settler organ Arutz Sheva, which also offers more such gems from Hamas sympathizers.
Israel's Supreme Court on April 29 ruled that buildings of the Givat HaUlpana settlement outpost at Beit El on the West Bank, ordered destroyed because of a claim by Palestinian land-owners, would receive a 60-day reprieve. The State Attorney's Office had filed the appeal on two days before, asking for a three-month delay in the scheduled demolition of the Ulpana outpost. The high court had earlier ordered the evacuation of the five apartment buildings by May 1 because they were built on land found to be private Palestinian property. Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, which helped the Palestinian claimants submit the petition against the outpost in 2008, has slammed the government for failing to raze the 30-apartment complex, which is inhabited by settler families. The stay is intended to allow time to find an "alternative solution."
Under pressure from UNESCO, Israel has agreed to remove the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb—two Jewish holy sites on the West Bank—from its list of "National Heritage Sites." This of course immediately sparked a backlash from Israel's religious right, with Science and Technology Minister Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz calling the omission "like denying our elementary heritage." (The Algemeiner, Feb. 1) Following recent clashes at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, Palestinian protesters also vented rage at the Rachel's Tomb site Feb. 21, hurling stones and prompting closure of the compound. Jewish visitors were evacuated by the Border Guard. (YNet, Feb. 21)